ITS flames have burned brightly in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. Now the Olympic Torch is coming to Mansfield and civic leaders are hoping it will spark a party to remember.
Thousands of local people will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the iconic flame pass through their community ahead of London 2012 after the much-anticipated route was revealed on Monday.
As well as Mansfield, the torch will be visiting Kirton, Boughton and Edwinstowe on 28th June next year, before trips to Glapwell and Bolsover the following day.
Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton said he was not allowed to reveal exact details of the torch’s route through Mansfield, but confirmed the town’s double-Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington will be involved in the planning.
“She is training in California at the moment but is delighted the torch is coming to her home town,” Mr Egginton said.
“We know from her homecoming parade in 2008, when people turned out in their droves, how Mansfield responds to something like this.
“The relay will shine a light on Mansfield, giving communities in and around the area the opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the UK, and the world, the many things we have to offer.”
Mansfield swimming star Sam Hynd, who won two medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games, also urged people to line the route and use the torch as an inspiration.
“If you have got a dream in sport, you follow that dream,” he said. “If you want to go and see the flame, I recommend you go for it.”
Before the torch reaches Mansfield, it will pass through the villages of Kirton, Boughton and Edwinstowe.
Kirton parish councillor Tim Wildgust said he would not have expected the flame to visit the tiny village ‘in a million years’.
“We have not had official notification from the Olympic organisers and the first we knew was when we looked at the map,” he said.
“I am sure the reaction from villagers will be extremely positive and it should be a memorable day.”
In Edwinstowe, community leaders are hoping the torch’s visit will allow them to promote the village and boost tourism.
“We intend to celebrate and promote Edwinstowe - it is a wonderful opportunity and I’m sure the whole village will get involved,” parish council chairman Coun Celia Brooks said.
After an overnight stop in Nottingham, the torch will return to the area and visit Glapwell and Bolsover on 29th June.
Bolsover district councillor Ann Syrett said: “It will be an amazing spectacle and we want as many of our communities to come along and be a part of the Olympics – something they may never get the chance to experience again.”
The 70-day Olympic Torch Relay will start at Land’s End on 19th May 2012 and will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the UK and be carried by 8.000 torchbearers.
Organisers say 95 per cent of the population will be within just 10 miles of the Olympic Torch.